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Guerilla Toss are an art rock band formed in 2010 and from Boston, MA. Now based in New York, NY, the group currently consists of singer Kassie Carlson, drummer Peter Negroponte, guitarist Arian Shafiee, keyboardist Sam Lisabeth, and bassist Greg Albert. They have released four studio albums, seven EPs, and one remix album, and they are currently signed to DFA Records. They were also listed in Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "10 Great Modern Punk Bands".
Formation and early years (2010–2013)
The first incarnation of Guerilla Toss formed in 2010 when they were students at New England Conservatory of Music in the Contemporary Improvisation department. Guerilla Toss' members consider the band to have truly started, though, when singer Kassie Carlson joined the band in 2012. The lineup then consisted of herself, drummer Peter Negroponte, bassist Simon Hanes, guitarist Arian Shafiee, and keyboardist Ian Kovac. Carlson first met Guerilla Toss when her former hardcore band, Western Syndrome, performed with the group at a house show.
Guerilla Toss toured extensively nationally and within Boston's DIY community by performing at many show houses such as Gay Gardens, where Carlson and Negroponte were both residents on separate occasions. Later that year Guerilla Toss released their first recordings with Carlson—two EPs, My Real Dad: Live in Nappa through Spooky Town and GTOSS + FDOME = SEXDOME through Feeding Tube Records, as well as their first album, Jeffrey Johnson, through Feeding Tube Records. They also won The Deli's "Best Emerging New England Band of 2012" award.
In May 2013, Guerilla Toss released their second album, GTOSS, through Tzadik Records, the record label owned by avant-garde composer John Zorn. The group then released two EPs later that year—Kicked Back Into the Crypt, a split LP with noise rock band The Sediment Club that was co-released through Sophomore Lounge Records and Feeding Tube Records and Rambo Part II: First Blood Volume 3 through Hidden Temple Tapes.
Adding disco and funk sound, lineup changes, Gay Disco (late 2013–2014)
Guerilla Toss began to incorporate disco and funk elements into their sound as shown with the release of their album Gay Disco through NNA Tapes in December 2013. In July 2014, they released their next EP, 367 Equalizer, through Infinity Cat Recordings. Following its release Kovac left the group to return to college and Hanes left the group to move to Zurich, Switzerland to pursue an EDM career.
Keyboardist Toby Aronson and bassist Pat Keuhn then joined the band briefly, and the new lineup released the EP, Smack The Brick, through Aronson's NNA Tapes in November 2014. Guerilla Toss wrapped up the year by going on a US / Europe tour that included the fourth-to-last show at New York, NY warehouse venue Death By Audio as well as being nominated in the 2014 Boston Music Awards for "Punk Artist of the Year".
Relocation to New York, signing with DFA Records, Flood Dosed (2015)
Guerilla Toss relocated to New York City during the summer of 2015. Bassist Phil Racz and keyboardist Sam Lisabeth replaced Keuhn and Aronson, respectively, around this time. They also began variating their setlists and jamming during their live performances in addition to encouraging tapers to share recordings of their shows, citing the Grateful Dead as an inspiration.
Adding to Guerilla Toss' growing popularity, Kris Petersen of DFA Records, the record label co-founded by James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, signed Guerilla Toss to the label. The band's first release through them was the EP Flood Dosed in October 2015, which was met with some acclaim. Around the time of its release, bassist Ben Katzman of BUFU records replaced Racz.
Eraser Stargazer (2016–present)
Katzman left the band in the beginning of the year and was replaced by current bassist Greg Albert.
In March 2016, Guerilla Toss released their album Eraser Stargazer through DFA Records. Eraser Stargazer was recorded during the winter of 2015 in Livingston, NY.
Guerilla Toss released two more recordings in 2016. One of them was a remix EP of Eraser Stargazer by Giant Claw—who did the artwork for Eraser Stargazer, Live in Nashville, and Gay Disco—titled Giant Claw vs. Guerilla Toss, which was released in May 2016 through DFA Records. The other release was their first live album, Live in Nashville, which was recorded at The End in Nashville, TN on March 11, 2016 during the Eraser Stargazer tour. The album was released in June 2016 on vinyl via Feeding Tube Records and digitally via DFA Records.
Musical style and influences
From Guerilla Toss' inception, the group's sound has been labeled as art rock, no wave, noise rock, and punk, namely for their odd time signatures, dissonant instrumentals, and combination of shrieking and melodic vocals. Starting with their 2013 release Gay Disco, Guerilla Toss have started to add elements of disco, funk, and dance music into their songs as well.
The band's name is an anagram of the group Seagulls Trio and a reference to the Donkey Kong 3 arcade game.
Guerilla Toss are known for their high-energy and intense concerts that also sometimes involve live visual projections and light shows.
As of 2015, Guerilla Toss are incorporating jamming and unique setlists into every show, channeling their influence from jam bands like The Grateful Dead. In addition, they have begun to encourage tapers to record and share their live performances on archive.org.
Other projects and appearances
Many current and former members of Guerilla Toss have other musical projects and endeavors.
Carlson has many solo projects including a project with Shawnie Brando of Bugs and Rats called MEDS with a self-titled EP that was released in October 2014. Another one of Carlson's projects is Size Queen, which is with Nick Baker of The Channels. The group released an EP called The Spectacle through Feeding Tube Records in November 2014. She also has a solo keyboard project under the alias Jane La Onda, and her EP Buy Buy Buy was released in February 2014.
Negroponte runs the record store Deep Thoughts JP in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
Lisabeth performs under the name Samuel Boat when not with Guerilla Toss.
Albert is a founding member of Brooklyn-based math, indie-pop group Celestial Shore. The band has released two albums, which are titled Enter Ghost and 10x.
Hanes has formed a 14-piece ensemble called Tredici Bacci that performs music inspired by Italian film scores from the 1960s-1970s that features Lisabeth on guitar. He has also been involved in John Zorn's Bagatelles series.
Aronson is the owner of record label NNA Tapes, which he started before he joined Guerilla Toss.
Katzman runs BUFU Records and has his own band Ben Katzman's DeGreaser which occasionally features Arian Shafiee.
Kassie Carlson – vocals (2012–present)
Peter Negroponte – drums, percussion (2010–present)
Arian Shafiee – guitar (2010–present)
Sam Lisabeth – keyboards (2015–present)
Greg Albert – bass (2016–present)
Ben Katzman – bass (2015–2016)
Phil Racz – bass (2015)
Toby Aronson – keyboards (2014)
Pat Keuhn – bass (2014)
Ian Kovac – keyboards (2011–2014)
Simon Hanes – bass (2010–2014)
Andy Allen – saxophone (2010–2011)
Borey Shin – keyboards (2010–2011)
Awards and recognition
Won The Deli's "Best Emerging New England Band of 2012" award.
Nominated in the Boston Music Awards for "Punk Artist of the Year".
Flood Dosed is listed as one of the "25 Best EPs of 2015" by Stereogum.
Flood Dosed is listed as one of the "30 Best Local Albums of 2015" by DigBoston.
Listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "10 Best Modern Punk Bands".